Snowpocalypse Day 1

The snow has arrived! The #BeastFromTheEast is upon us! In Blarney snow fell this morning for about 40 minutes and left the ground looking lovely and white when you're inside. It was awful if you had to go out in it though!

-3C in the car this morning
The school run
I carried Diego most of the way to the school, and back. He was happy to get back in the car!
Clearing the windscreen on Carr's Hill. Photo Credit: Ki Bosch.
The Sun is shining

The snow fall didn't last long. Getting back up the hill into my estate was fun, involving high revs in first gear. Thankfully some of my neighbours had put gravel down on the road which helped. The relief as I felt the tyres catch on the rough surface was wonderful.

School is out at 11am though, so the kids get snow and bright pleasant, if cold, weather.

Tomorrow is Storm Emma.


Edit: Victor Barry posted a great photo of Cobh on Twitter.

"The National Emergency Coordination Committee has asked everybody in Munster and Leinster to be indoors by 4pm tomorrow and to stay there until midday on Friday.

Cork Safety Alerts on Facebook

All schools in Munster will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Aaron Woods has great photos of Cobh as well.

Of course people have panicked and shop shelves are empty. Bread is in great demand. Send bread!

Photos of Crosshaven in Co. Cork from Facebook.

The Ministry of Time

Or “El Ministerio del Tiempo” as it’s called in it’s native Spanish.

I’ve only watched one episode but this time traveling sci-fi series is off to a great start, and the whole thing is available on Netflix. Thankfully with subtitles!

Mister Feis

Aaron Feis threw himself in front of students and was shot protecting them from a gunman during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Another staff member, Scott Beigel, was also killed while ushering his students into his classroom out of harm's way.
Image found on Reddit.

Also, from here.

Hi everyone, my name is Sid, I'm a Junior at Stoneman Douglas and I'd like to share my story of what went on in room 1214, the third room that was shot into by the shooter, and where Nick Dworet (second to top right) and Helena Ramsey (second to bottom right) were killed. 2:20 PM – We are working on the laptops doing an online activity when we hear about 10-15 gunshots outside of our door. Everyone scatters and from about 25 kids, two groups were split in different corners. I was in the corner that is immediately to the right of the entrance, Nick was in the back right corner that could be immediately seen from the entrance. The group with Nick and Helena were trying to form a barricade with a cabinet and a computer cart (one that holds laptops and charges them) but without even 20 seconds to react, the shooter comes to our door and starts shooting through the window of the door. He was shooting at the corner that Nick and Helena were in as well as about 12 other students with them in that corner. Nick got caught in the fire and died immediately, Helena also got caught and was shot twice in her chest. I was in the opposite corner so I couldn't see his body because a cabinet was in the way, and I'm thankful that I didn't witness his body because it probably would have affected me much more. A girl told me she had to use Nick's body as a shield once she saw he was dead immediately 🙁 Here is an edited version of the map to show the corner where I was hiding (blue), where Nick and Helena were (orange) and where the shooter was shooting from (red). Thank you for the support you have been giving. And if any of you came out to the vigil yesterday, I have no words for how happy I am that you came to support.

Liam Ruiséal’s To Close

I used to work in Liam Ruiséal’s bookstore more than twenty five years ago. I still remember sorting through books upstairs while Everything I Do I Do It For You played every day at 1pm as it sat at the top of the charts in Ireland for nine long weeks. I was so sick of that song.

The late summer, back to school, rush in the nineties was a crazy time to work in a school bookshop. I think I only worked there 2 or 3 years, brought in during the late months of the summer holidays, and worked those months in the store room around the corner. It's the shop across the road from the side entrance of AIB, an auctioneers now.

There were constant deliveries, constant orders being made up, piles of books brought up to the shop on a trolley. I haven't really thought much about it since but I wonder what became of the people who worked there in the early nineties? William Geoghegan pictured here looks very familiar and it appears Bríd was still running the place in 2016!


It's sad to see it close but the last time I bought a school book in there was the mid to late nineties. Unfortunately I never thought of it as somewhere to buy fiction.

One of the country’s oldest independent bookshops, Liam Ruiséal’s in Cork city, is to close later this year after over a century in business. Bríd Hughes, a granddaughter of shop founder, Liam Ruiseál, confirmed this afternoon that the shop will close “within a few months”.

Organizing Photos in Lightroom

There are many articles out there that explain how best to store your photo archive if you use Lightroom. I was going to write one too but I don't think the world will really benefit from me rehashing what other writers have already said.

If you watch the video above by Peter Krogh, who wrote the book on Digital Asset Management, you'll have a good idea of the basics. I organise my photos in a very similar fashion.

Use Dated Folders

You may have read elsewhere or seen YouTube videos that encourage you to put descriptive titles in the folders where you store your photos, but I would urge you to keep the folder names as simple as possible. I agree with Peter Krogh that you keep the directory names simple but instead of using project names as he did above, I use dates. I use YYYY/YYYY-MM-DD as the folder name when importing.
Using project based folder names makes things complicated. Occasionally I won't bother copying photos off my camera, especially if they're just snapshots, so it would be an extra hassle importing first my cat photos from Friday, and then my street photos on Saturday. It's much easier to go into "Previous Import" and add a few keywords. This won't happen that often, but I guarantee it will.

When you're looking through your photo archive it probably won't be through a file manager, it'll be in Lightroom, so the folder names don't matter, but the dated folder names provide a logical and predictable naming convention that will always be the same.

Instead of relying on folder names use keywords and collections to sort your photos. Use ratings or colours to refine further. You can then use Lightroom filters to quickly find whatever photo you need. This short tutorial on collections explains how to use them.

Use Import Presets

As well as DSLR photos, I import photos from my phone into Lightroom, and now that I'm doing a 365 day photo project too I'll be importing fully edited photos from my phone. I use Snapseed to edit those photos so I wanted some way of identifying those photos. Import Presets were the answer!

I use import presets to configure import options like destination folder, file renaming, metadata information, keywords, and even develop settings:

  • Away: used when I'm not at home with my laptop. Usually on a work trip or holiday. The destination folder is on the local drive. Everything else goes to an external one. When I get home I move the files to external storage and tell Lightroom where the missing files are.
  • Jacinta's Photos: my wife's camera phone photos go in a specific directory with different keywords and metadata.
  • Mobile Import: import photos I've already synced from my phone. Adds the keyword "phone" and puts the photos into a different directory structure.
  • SD Card: settings used when I'm importing DSLR photos.
  • Snapseed: my newest import preset. This adds the keyword "snapseed" and moves photos into the same folder as the Mobile Import preset. I use the keyword to
  • identify these files.

Use Publish Actions

These allow you to export photos with particular settings. This allows you to tailor your photos for different sites. For example, Instagram uses 1080×1080 pixel images. Your blog will have a different width. Facebook has other restrictions.

Use the WordPress Lightroom Plugin

The Lightroom Exporter for WordPress allows you to export photos from Lightroom into your WordPress.com or self hosted WordPress site (if you're using Jetpack).

There has been so much written about Adobe Lightroom it's not hard to find answers to whatever questions you have. This was just a short summary of my thoughts about photo organization. I have a photo archive going back to 2001 and it has worked well for me. It'll probably work well for you too.

Want 3 months of Backblaze?

Ho Ho Ho! The folks at Backblaze must be feeling the Christmas cheer as they're adding 3 months of Backblaze backup to anyone who signs up within the next 21 days.

I’m a huge fan of Backblaze, having paid for the service since 2013 and had to recently use their backup to restore more than 3GB of photos I took on December 1st and 2nd.

So, if you’re not backing up your data I can recommend Backblaze. Sign up here for a free trial, and if you buy a subscription you’ll get 3 months free, but only if you sign up within the next 21 days. I get 3 months free as well which will make me very happy too. 🙂

The Importance of Backups

How many backups do you have of your important files? I have several backups of my photo archive:

* A local rsnapshot (incremental) backup made every six hours.
* A local copy of my photos directory, which is a straight copy, including deletions. Synced daily.
* A copy on another server synced daily.
* An online cloud backup on Backblaze.

And I still managed to lose a few days worth of photos.

Late last month I took delivery of a new 8TB external drive. I benchmarked it and it was just a bit better than any of my existing drives so I decided to make that the primary location for my photos. I called it “cats”.

Previously my photos lived on a drive imaginatively called “data”, but that would now become my secondary copy.

With my photo archive copied over (all 2.3TB of it), I edited my backup script so it would not accidentally erase my photos on cats, especially not any newly imported photos. I updated rsnapshot so it used cats rather than data, and made sure that Backblaze was backing up cats too. It all looked like it would work perfectly!

The next day I didn’t take any photos, or the next, I took a couple of photos with my phone but didn’t transfer them to my laptop immediately. Then one morning I took a photo of the sunrise, and the following day I did the same.
I edited a few of the images and uploaded one on the same day. Nothing wrong at all.
The next day I went into Cork to photograph Glow Cork and got some nice long exposure photos of the lights. I went in the next day on December 3rd and did the same.

I worked on a couple of shots, but I was busy, and didn’t have time to work on photos until this evening when my world fell apart as Lightroom reported it only had the smart previews for my latest photos. With a sinking feeling and forced calm I checked the 2017 folder. It all looked good, until 2017-11-19 that is. Nothing there after that.

I frantically checked my backup script again and again, poring over each line to make sure the right files were being copied to the right place but it looked ok.
I checked my rsnapshot folder. That should surely have the missing files. No. No, it didn’t.
I checked my other server and the files weren’t there either. They stopped at 2017-11-19.

I checked Backblaze, and the backup made today ended in 2017-11-19 too.

Dumbfounded and a little desperate I started clicking on the end date in Backblaze, going back a few hours, then a day, and another day when I found something weird. I found my December 1st and 2nd photos, but not in the cats drive, but in the data drive!

I’d forgotten to update my Lightroom import preset. Lightroom was still copying my images into the data drive, and then my backup script would delete them the next day. Rsnapshot wasn’t backing them up either because it was now looking at the cats drive.

I started a restore of my December photos off Backblaze. The 3.7GB of data is still downloading. Luckily I hadn’t formatted my camera SD card so my December 3rd photos were still there too, waiting to be copied over again. Once converted to DNG, copied into place, renamed and metadata data updated, Lightroom was happy with those files.

I learned a lot about Backblaze. Without it I would have completely lost my December photos, including this one and the photo at the top of this post.

However, I could not find backups of photos shot from November 20th to 30th. Most of those were sunrise photos, copied to the laptop after the daily backup script had run so Backblaze should have had a day to back those photos up. The restore process offers hourly backups over the last two days, then daily for the next 7 days, then weekly going back a month.

I suspect that Backblaze considered the daily backup done sometime around 7am UTC right after my backup script had deleted the files but that doesn’t explain how I was able to find my December shoot because that was past the hourly deadline. I need to contact Backblaze to find out why.

I still recommend using Backblaze. Last week several factors conspired to make my backup fail:
1. My DSL has a relatively slow 1Mbps upload.
2. I had my laptop unplugged from my external drives for several hours.
3. Backblaze doesn’t immediately back files up.

Then there’s the bad luck to find this problem after more than a week when Backblaze changes to weekly snapshots. It has it’s limitations but it still saved a bunch of my photos and I am very thankful to have it!

I’ve already changed my backup script so it won’t mirror deletions. If I’m going to delete files I’m going to do it soon after copying them onto my laptop and I remove files so rarely it’s not needed in the backup script.